And you thought Yankees fans had questions about their favorite team’s prospects for the 2013 season.
Oddsmakers have just as many.
The 27-time world champions are not among the favorites to win the World Series this season, according to sports books in Las Vegas, and the Yankees aren’t even the oddsmakers’ clear-cut pick to win the AL East title they’ve owned 12 of the past 15 years.
Steve Mikkelson, the sports book director for the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno, Nev., put the Yankees’ projected win total for this season at 86 1/2. The Yankees haven’t won fewer than 87 games in a full season since 1992, and have had 94 wins or more seven of the past eight years.
The Tigers (90), Angels (89 1/2) and Rangers (87) are all projected to win more games than the Yankees. The Blue Jays also are at 86 1/2.
“I can never recall seeing the Yankees in this position,” Mikkelson, who has set baseball betting lines since 1987, told Bloomberg News. “They’ve always been one of the top two or three teams, if not the top team, year in and year out for the last 20 years.”
With a projected win total of 86 1/2, bettors can place a season-long wager on whether the Yankees will have 87 wins or more, or if they’ll have 86 wins or fewer. A winning $115 wager would return a $100 profit. The Yankees’ worst record during the past 17 years was an 87-74 mark in 2000, when they won their third straight World Series title.
They head into spring training with 14-1 odds of winning the World Series, tied for eighth among the league’s 30 teams at the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book. The Angels, Tigers, Dodgers, Nationals, Reds, Blue Jays and defending champion Giants have better odds.
“I can’t remember the last time they’ve been in this range to win the World Series at the start of the year,” Chris Bennett, who sets baseball lines for the LVH Super Book, told Bloomberg News. “I feel like they’ve always been less than 10-1, at least, coming into the season. People have a lot of questions about the Yankees.”